Preston Ciere is a popular Canadian writer, speaker and outdoor advocate. He shares his stories of backcountry adventures, with the hope of inspiring others to embark on their own. Preston started portageur.ca to facilitate this: a website featuring stories, ideas and resources for those wanting to find their own connection to nature. Preston is happiest wandering the province with a canoe on his head, and sums up his attitude with the motto “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” When he’s not on the water or on a trail with his portaging canine Nancy, you can find Preston championing various programs and initiatives that promote the rewards of getting “out there”.
1. What does this year’s TEDxAlgonquinPark theme, Think Outside, mean to you?
Because we spend so much time inside now, we need to make a special effort to think about the outdoors, what it means to us, and to do so more often. Thinking about the implied ending ("... the box"), we should not only think about the outdoors, but also try to do so in ways we may not have previously.
2. What is your favourite thing to do outside?
Portaging. The best stuff is over the portage. It's great exercise, gets you to some great places, immerses yourself further into the wilderness, and if you do it right, leaves no trace that you were there. I love being on the water and connecting with nature, where fewer people tend to follow.
3. What one thing should everyone know about you?
I adopted a canine companion named Nancy, rescued from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. She's the perfect camping sidekick (or maybe I'm her's) who took to the Ontario backcountry as if she'd been born there. Oh also, I look great in shorts.
4. In the spirit of TED—Ideas Worth Spreading—tell us the best advice you’ve ever received and want to share with others.
The best advice I've received is about how to give advice: A person needs to be ready and open before they can learn something or accept information. It's one of those wise-old-man pieces of knowledge that I was lucky enough to have explained to me - demonstrated, really. If you want to teach something, you need to wait for the right moment and present it in such a way that is not confrontational or judgemental, but instead is interesting and relatable. A friendly "How's it going?" works way better than "Let me show you the right way to do that". Another way I use this advice is though humour and story-telling to get my views across - never pushing or preaching - and it's especially effective when I am the butt of the jokes.
5. Without revealing the theme of your TEDxAlgonquinParkTalk, tell us the one thing you hope people will do after they hear you speak.
They'll get outside. They'll go on an adventure to find a far off place on the other side of the portage and enjoy the scenery. And they'll bring a friend.